Skip to main content

News

Subscribe to newsfeed 

MATCH REPORT

Posted on 28 October 2006  - 12:00

The only mystery at Vicarage Road was how the score remained goalless as a host of chances were created and missed - or saved - as we had the better of an eventful Premiership clash on Saturday.

The only mystery at Vicarage Road was how the score remained goalless as a host of chances were created and missed - or saved - as we had the better of an eventful Premiership clash on Saturday.

Aaron Lennon was denied twice in the first half and once in the second half by Ben Foster, who also saved well from Robbie Keane. As the game entered the final minutes, Jermaine Jenas and Ledley King - arguably the best chance of the lot - both headed wide from good positions.

But it wasn't just about us. Watford raced out of the traps, created a chance within about 15 seconds of kick-off and missed the best opportunity of the game when Tommy Smith somehow shot over with the goal at his mercy.

Just two players - Tom Huddlestone and Hossam Ghaly - from the starting line-up from Wednesday evening's Carling Cup victory over MK Dons retained their places for the visit to Vicarage Road.

Similar to at the National Hockey Stadium, there was a big scare in the first minute. Tommy Smith fizzed over a cross from the right and it appeared to be zooming onto the head Darius Henderson until Michael Dawson somehow managed to extend his leg high enough to divert the ball away. Dan Shittu then gave Paul Robinson his first hand-warming of the afternoon with a powerful header.

Lively stuff.

At the other end a Jermaine Jenas corner dissected the home defences, but the ball also eluded connection with Ledley King and Dimitar Berbatov.

Watford then contrived to miss a glorious opening in front of goal when Shittu stretched to keep in a deepish cross and his tough presented Smith with what would normally be the routine task of sticking the ball away, but the chance was shot over the bar.

Aaron Lennon twice could have got the scoring moving at the other end, but was denied by good goalkeeping from Ben Foster on both occasions.

The momentum of the game lapsed a little as we reached a third of the way through before Lennon forced Foster into a stretching save after he was played in down the left by a measured through pass from Ghaly. Smith proceeded to get the better of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and pinged a low cross into the six yard box where, thankfully, it was a Spurs boot that applied the next touch.

The contest had come back to the boil and Robbo was next in the action with a strong-armed save from Damien Francis. We were saved by the flag five minutes before the interval when Hameur Bouazza thought he had sprung the trap and set Ashley Young through on goal. The England Under-21 international finished sweetly and was then aghast to turn around and see the flag of the assistant held aloft.

Young nearly got his side off to a flyer at the beginning of the second half when his dash down the left led to his squaring the ball across the six yard box. Unfortunately for him, his teammates could not keep up.

Robbie Keane rounded Foster on 52 minutes but the angle was quickly conspiring against him, although it took a neat back-heeled flick over the bar from Jay Demerit to completely avert the danger.

Ghaly quickly embarked on a nearly productive run forward after giving chase to a Berbatov punt, the Egyptian eventually finding Keane who tested Foster and the loose ball ran agonisingly away from the path of our advancing attackers.

Martin made his first change after 67 minutes when Danny Murphy was introduced in place of Ghaly. The switch enabled Lennon to return to his more natural habitat on the right, with Murphy slotting in on the left.

Lennon was next in with a big chance when Jenas located his dart down the right of the Watford penalty area. He took aim, made a decent connection, but the falling Foster got something on it and the ball leapt up over the bar.

Jermain Defoe was added to the mix but final chances landed on the heads of Jenas, who couldn't keep his effort down and then King, who failed to connect properly with Jenas' free-kick and the ball floated wide.